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A Colder War Paperback – 1 Jan 2015


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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (1 Jan. 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007467508
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007467501
  • Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 3 x 13 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,759 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Charles Cumming is a British writer of spy fiction. He was educated at Eton College (1985-1989) and the University of Edinburgh (1990-1994), where he graduated with 1st Class Honours in English Literature. The Observer has described him as "the best of the new generation of British spy writers who are taking over where John le Carré and Len Deighton left off".

In 1995, Charles Cumming was approached for recruitment by the United Kingdom's Secret Intelligence Service (MI6). A Spy By Nature, a novel partly based on his experiences with MI6, was published in 2001. The novel's hero, Alec Milius, is a flawed loner in his early 20s who is recruited by MI6 to sell doctored research data on oil exploration in the Caspian Sea to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

In 2001, Charles Cumming moved to Madrid. His second novel, The Hidden Man (2003), tells the story of two brothers investigating the murder of their father, a former SIS officer, at the hands of the Russian mafia. The Hidden Man also examines the clandestine role played by SIS and the CIA during the Soviet war in Afghanistan.

Charles Cumming's third novel, The Spanish Game (2006), marks the return of anti-hero Alec Milius, who becomes involved in a plot by the paramilitary Basque nationalist organization ETA to bring down the Spanish government. The Spanish Game was described by The Times as one of the six finest spy novels of all time, alongside Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Funeral in Berlin and The Scarlet Pimpernel.

Typhoon, published in 2008, is a political thriller about a CIA plot to destabilise China on the eve of the Beijing Olympics. The story spans the decade from the transfer of the sovereignty of Hong Kong in 1997 to present-day Shanghai. In particular, the author highlights the plight of the Uyghur Muslim population in Xinjiang, a semi-autonomous region of The People's Republic of China. The acclaimed novelist William Boyd described Typhoon as "a wholly compelling and sophisticated spy novel - vivid and disturbing - immaculately researched and full of harrowing contemporary relevance."

In March 2008, Charles Cumming published an interactive online story, The 21 Steps, as part of a Penguin We Tell Stories project. Readers follow the protagonist's travels through Google Maps. Cumming's novels have been translated into six languages. His work is published in the United States by St Martin's Press. In 2009, Cumming left Penguin to join Harper Collins. His fifth novel, The Trinity Six, a thriller about the Cambridge spies, will be published in February 2011.

Product Description

Review

Praise for A Colder War:

‘The spy thriller has been on the ascendant in the past few years, breeding a bunch of talented writers, Cumming among the very best’ The Times (Saturday Review)

‘[A] cleverly plotted spy tale’ Sun

‘A Colder War is more than an excellent thriller: it is also a novel that forces us to look behind the headlines and question some of our own comfortable assumptions’ Spectator

‘An espionage maestro . . . The levels of psychological insight are married to genuine narrative acumen – but anyone who has read his earlier books will expect no less’ Independent

‘For those hungering for a new John le Carré, Charles Cumming has inherited the master’s mantle. His new book, A Colder War, features sinister goings-on in spook-infested Istanbul’ Sunday Times

‘There’s a sense that Kell is developing into a Smiley for our times’ Mail on Sunday

‘[Cumming] expertly recreates a world of waiting and watching where boredom is as much an enemy as other agents, and yet has still produced a page-turning thriller. . .If you thought true spy novels went out with the Berlin wall, think again’ Press Association

‘Edgily elegant … perfect for those wanting a contemporary spy thriller in the vein of Le Carré and even for those who don’t’ Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal

Praise for A Foreign Country:

‘We are in Smiley country, but with extra 21st century nuance … Cumming has an exquisite touch and we should treasure him’ Daily Mail

‘A thriller that has everything you could ask for – a twisty, sexy plot, topical themes, memorable characters and plentiful spy lore’ Sunday Times

‘Refreshing, plausible and effective … Best of all is the sheer pace of the narrative’ Spectator

‘You are likely to be up for most of the night to find out how this novel ends. It grips from the first page … A fast-moving treat’ The Scotsman

About the Author

Charles Cumming was born in Scotland in 1971. He has been described as ‘the man who most successfully gets under the skin of Britain’s intelligence agencies’ (The Times). In the summer of 1995, he was approached for recruitment by the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6). A year later he moved to Montreal where he began working on a novel based on his experiences with MI6, and A Spy by Nature was published in the UK in 2001. A Colder War is his seventh novel.


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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Champollion VINE VOICE on 24 May 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"A Colder War," sets the bar even higher in terms of the spy novel. I have to declare immediately that I am an avid fan of Charles Cumming's work and have eagerly read all his books from the start beginning with "A Spy by Nature." His books have increasingly developed a cohesiveness with sharp dialogue, expertly plotted, with an authentic feel to the story.

The tale is a clever one, set in a refreshingly different location, Istanbul, with a contemporary plot and seemingly unconnected events, all coming together.

Thomas Kell, the British agent, whose career was resurrected in A Foreign Country, is tasked with investigating the death of the local Head of Station. A 'mole' is suspected and the pace of narrative is relentless as Kell unravels the pieces of the jigsaw. It's not all plain sailing of course as he is obliged to work alongside a CIA agent, who had a part in his fall from grace. Kell is a rounded character with even a love interest brilliantly portrayed by the author.

A Colder War is not only a first class thriller providing a glimpse of the intelligence world but a book which is compelling and addictive.
In terms of the world of espionage stories this is gold standard.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jeff VINE VOICE on 8 May 2014
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Cumming has become an excellent exponent of the spy novel. The intrigue, the deceit, the questionable trust, the exotic locations - they're all here. Fascinating for me to come to it after finishing Ben MacIntyre's excellent 'A Spy Among Friends' - a non-fiction account of Philby's treachery and how easily and casually it was done in the face of the smug and arrogant 'old school tie' brigade at the top of British Intelligence. Cumming knows his stuff and one thing I do like is the lack of patronising. If you're going to read a spy story [and the cover tells you you are] then any follower of the genre won't need an explanation of the 'cousins' or the SVR or a DLB or what Cheltenham does, and Cumming doesn't disappoint. The other thing obvious from the cover is the setting - in this case Istanbul, which in itself conjures up an image of a bustling, exciting city, full of history and close to the borders of Iraq, Iran and Russia. I can forgive him the odd lapse - you do have to tread lightly over one or two bits - but it is a novel after all and not, as with MacIntyre, a piece of meticulous research. I like Kell; I find him thoroughly believable. He's feeling his age, smokes too much, forgets to put the bins out, wonders what he wants from women to say nothing of his position in MI6.
I won't touch on the story. Actually, I'm not sure there is much of a one. There's a mole - Kell's task is to find out who. Is all.
I enjoyed it though. It's compulsive and well-written. I recommend it highly.
And the next time you're on a train to Euston or a plane going on your holidays, have a look [not too hard now!] at the person sitting in the aisle seat three rows down.......
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Elaine Simpson-long TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 12 May 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have read all of Charles Cumming's spy books and I thoroughly enjoy them. They are more akin to George Smiley than James Bond which is to the good, well in my opinion anyway.

In this title we meet Thomas Kell once more who featured in the previous book when he was tasked to find Amelia Levene, head of Intelligence Service, when she went off grid. This time he is sent to investigate a mysterious plane crash in which MI6's Head of Station in Turkey, met his death. It seems he was involved with a woman who may or may not be what she seems, was seen having a meeting with a Russian agent and as it appears there is a Mole somewhere in the service, suspicion is aroused by these actions.

What I like about these books is that there is no attempt to make spying a glamorous profession. OK there is a beautiful woman here for our hero, but the emphasis is on winkling out the traitor through elimination, surveillance and a lot of basic work. I find this approach fascinating, I loved Tinker Tailor by le Carre for the same reason, and so Charles Cumming finds a fan in me.

Twists and turns but I will say no more as I do not want to give anything away or spoil the ending. Do read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dean village bella on 6 July 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a thoroughly entertaining and well crafted page turner, if you don’t mind a few cliches and a formula-driven plot.

Charles Cumming has gone through the checklist of elements that define most current spy novels and employed them all: a main character who is a bit of an outsider, rough around the edges but exceptionally good at his job, carrying a few scars, personal and professional; an ambiguous relationship with a boss who has his corner but is also playing a complicated game of her own; lots of friction between the two allied spy agencies, neither trusting the other; a re-acquaintance with a past nemesis; and a cunning and capable enemy controlling a thoroughly despicable traitor. Along the way a hard heart is softened by new love, there are a couple of dramatic plot twists, and as always cynical deal-making at the top threatening to undo all that good spook work.

The story involves the search to find a particularly destructive and elusive mole. Thomas Kell (introduced in A Foreign Country) is brought in from the cold to identify the likely suspect and then to catch him in the act, and in the process clear the name of an old but now dead friend. The best bits of this book involve this cat and mouse game played out in Istanbul, London, the island of Chios, and in Odessa. This is where the author’s knowledge of surveillance and counter surveillance techniques is put to riveting good use. There is a cast of supporting characters including a love interest, one weak link who of course eventually redeems them-self, and the essential computer whiz.

The title implies that this story will be played out on a new post-cold war intelligence battlefield but don’t expect to gain any new insights into that world.
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